What Are the Causes of Itchy Skin in Cats?

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What Are the Causes of Itchy Skin in Cats?
There are a number of different ailments that can cause skin irritation in cats. (Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

There are a number of different conditions associated with itchy skin in cats. If you notice that your furry little friend is scratching or licking itself more than normal, arrange a visit with the vet. Although itchy skin ailments are usually harmless, it is important to keep the symptoms under control and get the problem treated as soon as possible. Read below to find out more about what could be causing your cat's skin irritation.

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Fleas are tiny parasitic insects that feed on blood. If your cat has fleas, you may notice that he itches himself frequently and has white and grey specks in his fur. These are flea larvae and faeces. If your cat is allergic to fleas, the condition will be exacerbated and you will notice red, pimple-like bumps along the base of her tail, inner thighs and back.


Lice are small insects that embed themselves in the fur of cats. This ailment is more common in longhair cats that do not groom themselves very well. In addition to itching, you may notice bald spots where the lice have rubbed off the fur.


Scabies is a contagious skin disease caused by mites. If your cat has scabies, you will see a thick grey or yellow crust around her face, eyes and ears. There will also be bald patches where the fur has been rubbed off.


Ticks are insects that attach and burrow themselves into the skin. They will look like small, dark bumps. You may also notice some crawling along the skin and fur. In cats, ticks typically burrow between the toes, along the back or around the ears.


If a cat is exposed to a substance that it is allergic to, it can lead to itching, hair loss and skin rash. Possible allergens are food, plastic food bowls or litter.


Dandruff is a condition that occurs when the skin becomes overly dry. Small, dry flecks of dead skin will fall off your cat. The itching associated with this ailment is usually mild.

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